‘Unmet needs’ still hound Cordillera mothers
Baguio City – Referred to as ‘unmet needs,’ women or couples who want to limit or space their children but are not using any modern method of contraception remain a social, health, and development challenge in the Cordillera region according to the head of the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom)–Cordillera on Friday.
Regional Director Magdalena Abellera said monitoring revealed that there are 1,798 identified unmet needs from the 12,288 women of reproductive age (WRA) profiled from January until September this year, quoting PopCom’s online data.
Of the number, 251 women have accepted modern family planning methods while the rest were already linked to health service providers, Abellera said.
“We will continue to follow them up until we ‘zero’ the number of unmet met needs because even one life is significant,” she added.
To facilitate this goal, Popcom – CAR deployed 24 field coordinators across the region last September under the Intensified National Program on Population and Family Planning (NPPFP) to lead in the profiling of WRA, facilitate referral for family planning service, and disseminate the Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning (RPFP) program.
The coordinators will work closely with barangay population volunteers in partnering with families, couples, and individuals towards better access to effective family planning information and services.
According to Abellera, the RPFP program deals with issues related to sexual and reproductive health, including fertility and family planning concerns.
It is also a development strategy to achieve demographic dividend, she added.
Abellera said it aims to help couples realize their desired timing, spacing, and number of children in accordance with their socioeconomic, emotional, psychological capacity, and religious beliefs.
Related to this, Abellera said among the key activities this last quarter is the conduct of Family Planning Caravans in all provinces where individuals and couples can be provided with counseling and family planning services.
“We can cut down unmet needs as they emerge by empowering our communities with proper information and linking them to services,” Abellera stated.
The regional director likewise enjoined barangay officials to comply with Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular 2019-100, issued last July, which mandates the appointment or designation of Local Population Officers.
The memorandum also mandates the mobilization of barangay and community officials and volunteers to support the said national program.
The memorandum emphasizes the critical role of local government units in ensuring the delivery of the full range of family planning information and services especially among the marginalized and underserved population.
The memo circular is in compliance to EO 12-s2017 which mandates the DOH, PopCom, DILG, and other agencies, including LGUs, to attain and sustain zero unmet need for Family Planning.**